“With M-Star Projects we want to better market our project logistics”

Belgian freight forwarder Herfurth Logistics is consolidating all of its project cargo activities under one new brand, M-Star Projects. The move is intended to better market the group’s project logistics and attract new projects and clients, managing director Olivier d’Hoop of Herfurth Logistics tells PCJ. 

How did the idea for M-Star Projects come to life?
“The creation of M-Star Projects initially dates back to 2016 when Herfurth was presented with the opportunity to buy M-Star Freight Services in Rotterdam. The then owner and managing director, Tom van Buuren, was looking for a suitable buyer in order to take a step back and enjoy retirement. For us, M-Star was a great addition. The company has a strong focus on project cargo, meaning the acquisition would allow us to quickly expand our project logistics on a global scale. We finalized the deal in 2017 and began looking into how we could market this new competence throughout our group. That ultimately resulted in the idea of consolidating all of our project logistics under one new brand, which this year lead to the establishment of M-Star Projects.”

Why did you choose the name M-Star Projects?
“Herfurth also does project logistics but not to the extent of M-Star, whose clients are almost solely shipping project cargo. They have an established name. For Tom van Buuren it was also important that the company he had built from the ground up would not immediately disappear. He’s still involved in the business today.”

What is your strategy for M-Star Projects going forward?
“Our goal is to grow the business. An important part of that is to spread the competence throughout our business. We have offices in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Turkey and we’re currently working to develop dedicated M-Star Projects departments in all of them. We’re also planning to increase the visibility of the new project business online through a new website and social media.” 

Are you targeting any markets in particular?
“We like to seize every opportunity so we’re not focusing on one market or geographical region in particular. That being said, we’re the market leader in the trade to Surinam and we have a strong presence in helicopter logistics, which is coordinated by our office in Zeebrugge. Markets M-Star is active in include the (petro)chemical and oil and gas industry. Of course, we see the trend towards sustainability and we’re trying to move along in that too.”

Does that mean you’ll be expanding into the wind industry?
“Yes, we have plans to enter the wind energy markets somewhere next year. But we’re not just talking about wind energy when it comes to sustainability, we’re talking about things like biodiesel plants as well.”

What do you see as your biggest asset in realizing these goals?
“Our size and personal touch, mostly. The Herfurth Group has about 450 employees which makes us a relatively small freight forwarder. The big advantage of that is that our lines are direct and short. Our clients know our people and don’t get lost in a multitude of departments. We’ve had one client who felt they needed to expand the number of forwarders they were working with, just because it makes sense from a business point of view. We initially lost a large order to one of the major forwarders because of that decision. However, things went wrong and halfway we were asked to take over again. For us, that was a great testament to our approach. We always have one of our people on-site to overlook the job.”

Author: Tobias Pieffers

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